Kingfisher Airlines, the carrier headquartered in Mumbai, India signed a contract for five Airbus A340-500 and an option for five more, on Monday, April 24th, 2006, in Hannover, Germany. The aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2008. The aircraft are the latest high gross weight versions, allowing higher payloads to be transported.

Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of Kingfisher Airline's parent company UB Group, and Gustav Humbert, Airbus President and CEO, signed the deal in a ceremony attended by Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and EADS CEO Dr Thomas Enders.

All five A340-500 in the Kingfisher fleet will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engines, which burn up to 20 per cent less fuel than older generation engines, whilst providing outstanding range and payload performance.

Kingfisher is a rapidly growing force in Indian civil aviation already and has become one of the country's largest airlines. It already flies eight Airbus A320's and four Airbus A319's on domestic routes and will receive 30 more single aisle aircraft from Airbus in the near future. Kingfisher has also placed firm orders for five Airbus A380's, five A330's and five A350's for use on long-range international and regional services. So far, Kingfisher's Airbus Family fleet will grow to more than 60 aircraft.

"With the A340-500 ultra long haul aircraft, we will open up a completely new market. For the first time, we will be able to offer direct non-stop services between India and the USA and our A340-500 will have a unique configuration giving passengers extra space and comfort on their long flights" said Dr Vijay Mallya,

Gustav Humbert said, "This purchase is further evidence of the confidence that an increasingly successful airline, such as Kingfisher Airlines shows in our modern family of aircraft. We have built a strong relationship with Kingfisher and we are delighted that once again Kingfisher has chosen Airbus to help build its rapidly expanding fleet."

Customer interest in the new A340s reinforces the success of the A330/A340/A350 Family as the preferred choice of airlines worldwide in the medium to long-range market. So far over 1060 A330/A340/A350 Family aircraft have been ordered from 72 customers. More than 140 Airbus A340-500/-600 have been sold to 14 customers.

Offering the highest degree of operational flexibility, economy and unmatched passenger comfort, Airbus' A330/A340 Family of aircraft has established market leadership in the 240-380 seat category with more than 710 in operation worldwide, with almost 80 operators. There is an order backlog of more than 300 aircraft.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.